Dave Taylor has rediscovered his love of the game, has become a leader of men and got himself a job as the former NRL star takes massive strides in transforming his life.
After being released by the Toronto Wolfpack in the Super League for breaking curfew on two occasions at a pre-season camp, the 29-year-old behemoth signed on with the CQ Capras in the Intrust Super Cup.
Capras coach Kim Williams has given NRL.com a snapshot of Taylor’s progress and so far it has been all on the upward trajectory as he prepares to play at lock forward in the opening round of the Intrust Super Cup against Easts Tigers in Rockhampton on Saturday night.
His former NRL coaches may raise an eyebrow and wonder why it took him so long, but Taylor is developing into a genuine leader of men.
"Dave’s training ethic has been unbelievably good and he has also taken on a leadership role with us," Williams told NRL.com.
"He is the first one to talk in video sessions and in drink breaks before training and after training.
"I am starting to think it might be the first club in a long, long time where he is seen as a leader and he has really embraced that.
"Not that he has needed any encouragement. Dave has taken that on his own shoulders. He’s like another coach for me."
Taylor worked in a hotel part-time while at the Canberra Raiders to complement his playing contract but has now got a job with JRT, a civil construction company which sponsors the Capras.
The former Maroons star’s mentors have said in the past that what Taylor needed was a reality check and an understanding of life outside of the NRL and Williams said he had embraced his new way of life.
"Dave has got himself a job and is enjoying the world outside of full-time footy," Williams said.
"JRT have been really good for him and are training him up and putting him through various licences and tickets.
"As a result, Dave is coming to training with a smile on his face and he seems very happy with where he is at.
"It is so pleasing to see. That is the way we are going to get the best out of him on the field, when he is happy off it."
Taylor is living at home with his parents in Rockhampton and Williams said he had embraced the local community, which was reciprocating its own appreciation for the genial giant.
"Dave has done everything right here and it is all positive for him," Williams said.
"The key for Dave is that he has good people around him who have his welfare at heart and he is comfortable back at home with his parents.
"With all his club commitments, he is doing the right thing and all the sponsors love him because he is a big, friendly giant."
Taylor trained with the Capras before Christmas where he got himself in good shape prior to leaving for his short-lived stint with the Toronto Wolfpack.
When he signed with the Capras in January and fronted a press conference, he appeared to have bulked up considerably, but is now on the way back to top condition.
"Dave is certainly not entering round one in peak fitness and I’d expect it to take us a few rounds to get him there," Williams said.
"He won’t be an 80-minute player for us just yet but we certainly want to get to that point with him by round four or five."